Living with Less, Week 8: Kitchen, Cooking & Baking Ware

I had been dreading this part of my Living with Less project. The kitchen is more personal to me than even my closet. Everything has a specific function, so it was really hard to decide what was important. I ended up asking the question: can this item be replaced with another that has multiple functions? If I could answer yes, it went into the box. However, some rules are made to be broken...

After all was said and done, I called William Sonoma for advice on the trickiest one: could my food processor replace my mandoline slicer? Their kind (and patient!) representative easily made the point that just about everything in my kitchen could be replaced with a great knife. So, I decided to cut myself some slack. I love to cook and entertain (love it!) so I rethought everything I had put in the box and ended up only retrieving my mandoline.

Are you wondering what this Living with Less project is about? It's a series where I'm paring back our belongings: from clothes and coats to our medicine cabinet, I've made my way through the top two floors of our home. I've got an enormous pile of unwanted stuff to donate and possibly sell (I'd love advice on that if anyone has any!) in the name of Living with Less. In my world stuff begets stuff, so if I don't know what we have, I don't know what we need. Interested in reading more? Catch-up on previous posts.

Lessons Learned: Living with Less, Week 8

  • Set Limits: Because the kitchen is brimming with supplies and is usually one of the most frequented rooms in a home, decide what area you want to focus on first. Don't try to do everything at once: limit yourself to cooking and baking or dining and serving ware. For this post, I focused on cooking and baking ware and general utensils.
  • Group by Function: Before determining what you want to purge, organize your tools and ware by function. How do you know which measuring cups you have if they are spread between three drawers. Doing this will save a ton of time!
  • Discard the Unhealthy: With so much negative chatter about non-stick cookware I've been reluctant to use ours for some time. So, I decided it was time to break our dependence. Yes, they are slightly easier to use and clean, but I'd rather avoid the chemical finish all together. If your spatulas and other utensils have seen better days, now is the time to toss and replace them with healthier versions.
  • Function: When evaluating a tool, think about how you value it and its function. As I previously mentioned, I asked myself the question: can this item be replaced with another that has multiple functions? I realized this rule had to be broken in a few instances, but overall it was helpful.

What I'm Living Without
Most items below were unnecessary to my daily cooking routine and some were duplicates.

  • Baking Ware: cookbook holder, pie plate, cake pan
  • Cooking Ware: sandwich press, waffle maker, rusting wok, 2 splatter guards, pressure cooker, small chopping board, small and medium non-stick pans
  • Utensils: tea kettle, flatware holder, chopsticks, standing cheese shredder, knife sharpener, can opener, spatulas, baster, stir-fry utensils, tongs, ice cream scoop

A big thank you to Jennifer at Williams-Sonoma in Millburn, New Jersey. Your culinary knowledge helped me in this process! Thank you!

Questions? Comments? Are you following along or thinking about doing so? Let us know!

(Image: Landis Carey)